Day 8 – funny how you sleep better with the wife than in a room full of lads! At morning briefing my other room mates shared the joys of the room at the pub with the signage lighting outside the bedroom window finally switching off at 1am.
Morning routine is now pretty much like auto-pilot, up, roll/stretch, shower, dress, re-pack and gather bike accessories. Re-united with my bike that slept at the pub I took the opportunity to give chain & cassette a quick de-grease, clean up and re-lubricate.
Ready to go. Farewells with Nikki & Sharon and roll out.
The ride started by avoiding the road, always goes down well with me! And we cycled along the river estuary along a compacted bike path for the first few miles. The surface was fine, and the views fantastic, it looked like a good weather day ahead too.
First town to navigate was Lancaster, navigating was easy with Garmin, written notes and cycle paths that kept us off the main roads….Lancaster however seemed to be lovely with new & old build properties, tall multi storey houses overlooking river & views…
The rest of the day was one scenic wow after another, I felt we had entered the Lake District but knew we hadn’t as the Lakes really started at Kendal which was 30 miles into the day, so where were we that was so lovely, almost as a backdrop to the Lakes?
Arnside & Silverdale AONB it turns out…in particular the deer park at Beetham that we cycled through and onto Milnthorpe.
and then of course we closed in on the Lakes and the bigger hills of the area….cycling rather than driving just allowed us to take everything in at a slower pace but progress had the potential to come to a standstill as photo opportunity after opportunity presented themselves, just glorious.
Our route to the Lakes took us through Levens, Brigsteer, Crosthwaite, Bowness
and onto Ambleside at the top end of Lake Windermere, of course it was a bit manic here with cars and people but the route soon had us sneaking off down an obscure turning and we were back in our own little oasis of calm.
Of course there aren’t sufficient back roads in this neck of the woods to keep us completely clear of the busier roads so we popped back out onto the A591 and entered Grasmere Village, which I don’t think I’ve ever visited but is certainly on everyone else’s tourist map!! Lovely…but with lovely comes people – not my favourite! But again a sneaky left and a right had us climbing away from the hustle & bustle and into a quieter part of the Lakes.
This was just fab, we were on country lanes, with closed farm gates (that opened) and just passing through farms and with views to die for.
We popped back out on to the A591 and had to climb Dunmail Raise, I dreaded the traffic etc however the road at this point is twice as wide (effectively a dual carriageway although no white road paint) which meant the cars past by with plenty of space but also without backing up.
The climb on a normal day would have been ticked off without thought, of course right now the legs are feeling every % of gradient but up we climbed and just kept the cadence spinning…..let’s not worry about Scotland just yet, I have no idea how I rest the legs in readiness.
The decent off Dunmail was awesome, brand new tarmac, a gift for a cyclist, just heaven. Although cut short with a sharp left turn mid way! The left turn (Amboth) taking us away from the A591 and back into the countryside taking the longer route around Thirlmere Reservoir.
Sheep farms, waterfalls, views, just the noise of the wind in the trees….just lovely! And the wonderful sight of the afternoon brew van 😉
10 miles to go and the lead group set off made up of about 7 riders, the pace was too much for me to keep going with, all day it had just been me and John but I didn’t want to rush the last miles…. (1) I’m knackered and there’s no prizes with 6 days to go (2) it was too beautiful, I just carried on falling behind and took some photos (3) the last 4 miles were back on the A591 and while less visible I know I’m a lot easier to overtake.
I’m meant to be in a YHA but following previous experience what was acceptable for 20 something Nash isn’t anymore, I don’t work as hard as I do for that nonsense at 45! It’s no reflection on Peak-Tours – people are staying in lots of different accomodations but as I booked so late my option was the B&B with YHA – however tonight and in Inverness I’ll be trying to make my own alternative plans!
You can deal with so much more with a good night’s sleep.
So afternoon / evening prep is done…..kit washed rung out and trying to dry, everything on charge, me washed, blog / social media with a pint, dinner next to find and early night!
And finally, just a reminder it was Keswick that was hit by Storm Desmond just 9 months ago, headline news, but of course now not a story for the BBC. I’ve walked past houses and looked in windows to see stripped rooms, bare walls still drying…the facade is repaired, but I sense a lot of work in progress behind the scenes….which reminds me of another trying to re-build his life and quite a poignant moment in my blog ;(